Ludwig Wittgenstein

Ludwig Wittgenstein 2
Ludwig Wittgenstein 2 (Photo credit: Christiaan Tonnis)

Ludwig Wittgenstein (Josef Johann, 1889-1951) was an Austrian-born British philosopher.

Wittgenstein studied mathematics at Cambridge under Bertrand Russell, who spoke highly of his alleged genius. While serving in the Austrian army during WW I, he argued in Tractatus Logico-philosophicus that any sentence is a representation of a fact and any kind of thought is a sentence.

In 1953 he rejected these ideas presented in Tractatus, coming to believe that linguistic meaning relates to the use of expressions. This involves certain “language games” that inform and are informed by expressions. At one point in his career he apparently believed that his philosophy had figured everything out.

To be honest, I don’t find him terribly interesting. He had extremely narrow-minded views about music, which apparently “came to a full stop with Brahms.” He continued to say that “even in Brahms I can begin to hear the noise of machinery.”¹ One can only wonder what he’d think about EDM!

Related Posts » Linguistics, Semiology

¹ But clearly, many do find Wittgenstein intriguing. See the lengthy Wikipedia entry if interested, and also for the above quotations >>




  1. But one could say we have intended vs. unintended meanings, along with “unconscious” (another concept to be examined) meanings. And on the receiving side, an open-ended, possibly limitless variety of interpretations.


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